Saturday, October 19, 2013

Arakawa Toden 荒川都電

The closest transportation to my apartment is the Toden Arakawa streetcar. I live about a two minute walk from the streetcar stop, so as a result I take it nearly every day, and sometimes multiple times a day, using my monthly pass. There used to be over 41 streetcars in Tokyo, but the Toden Arakawa is one of only two that remain (for a great article on streetcars in Japan click here). I generally take the streetcar to Oji, where I can transfer to the JR lines or the Metro subway system, but sometimes I take it further, as it is inexpensive, and a fun way to see the city.

The Arakawa line runs on its own tracks, sometimes on the street, but mostly on above ground rails with its own right-of-way.

During peak times it runs every 3-5 minutes, and even during off hours, it runs less than 10 minutes between trams. The only problem is that it stops early, around 11:20 p.m., so there have been a few occasions where I've had to walk the 12 minutes from the JR train when coming home late from other parts of Tokyo. Click here for the route map.

Board here. One gets on in the front, scanning a transport card or putting in change, and then exits at the back of the tram.

There are multiple styles of tram

This is my favorite tram style- it is based on the old Taisho period design, but is the newest type of car. The interior is completely wood styled. So beautiful! Also, as my dissertation is on the early twentieth century, I find these trams to be a bit inspiring for my project.

In Kajiwara there is a small Japanese-style bakery that sells Toden Monaka, small wafer sweets filled with bean paste in the shape of the streetcar.

I bought a single monaka, but if one purchases multiples, they come in a box that looks like a train yard.

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